Northeast Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness Forms in Otsego County

The United Way is leading the new coalition of nonprofit groups.

They’re working together in 11 counties to help the homeless find shelter.

Through funding and awareness they are hoping to make emergency and permanent housing available.

“We became an eleven county coalition against homelessness,” says Keith Moore, Executive Director of United Way.

It’s the Northeast Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness.

With a homeless shelter closed, this coalition is stepping in to address an urgent need.

“The goal is not only to provide emergency shelters for the people that are homeless especially in the winter but to provide permanent support of housing for these people and grow our housing inventory and to help end homelessness in Otsego County,” says Moore.

Multiple nonprofits are partnering with the United Way.

“Last year we went out probably on the coldest day of the year in the county and we counted 54 homeless people on January 31,” says Moore.

More homeless means more help is needed.

“Even though that seems like a small number on the coldest day of the year that actually represents a large increase in those that are homeless and it always represents the tip of the ice berg,” says Moore.

Community members know see the need for a bigger, better effort.

“I have a son who was homeless for many years and it particularly hits home with me,” Robert Hengesteck, Gaylord resident. “I just can’t image how people live here when they’re homeless.”

Emergency housing is the first step following by working to get permanent housing for those who are homeless.

By the end of fall the United Way is working to give vouchers for overnight hotel stays.

If you are homeless or know someone who is homeless can call (866) 484-7077 for assistance.